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Monaco’s Push for Stricter Smoking Regulations: Minors’ Access and Disposable E-cigarettes in the Spotlight

Monaco is readying measures to protect minors from becoming cigarette smokers and taking aim at disposable e-cigarettes. 

The addictive substance nicotine is a neurotoxin that damages the developing brain, from fetal life to young adulthood. Other countries are also considering new measures needed to protect young people from tobacco. Some of the debates internationally argue for the minimum legal age for access to tobacco products as 21 or even 25 years. The argument goes that this would reduce smoking initiation substantially, reduce the prevalence of smoking, improve health across the lifespan, improve the outcome of many teenage pregnancies and save lives.

Physicians argue we should spare no effort in preventing young people from starting to smoke. Eighteen or 19 they argue is too young to be allowed legal access to an addictive and carcinogenic product that can never be used safely. Raising the minimum legal age for access to tobacco is a scientifically proven, legally and politically feasible, quick, cheap and effective way to deprive the tobacco industry of recruiting a new generation of young people as their customers.

Monaco’s Planned Measures

In a move by the Monégasque government, plans are underway to reshape the local smoking landscape. They’re not just stopping at disposable e-cigarettes; they’re also eyeing raising the minimum age for cigarette purchases from 16 to 18.

The debate surrounding disposable e-cigarettes (“puff”) ignited in the halls of the National Council chamber before any formal bill was presented. Both government and council members united in their belief that these trendy, adolescent-favoured devices come with a hefty baggage of health and environmental risks.

Christophe Robino, the Minister of Social Affairs and Health has made his views known that puff e-cigarettes reintroduce the risk of addiction due to their enticing flavours, high nicotine content, and disposability, which all contribute to behavioral addiction. 

A burning question emerges during these deliberations, inquiring if the prohibition would extend to visitors within Monaco. There is a real pragmatic challenge of enforcing this on adults who bring their puffs from elsewhere. The primary focus is on protecting Monaco’s youth.

Balancing acts and nuances come into play with rechargeable e-cigarettes. These devices can help tobacco users quit. 

Beyond the “puff”, this legislative effort paves the way for a broader reconsideration of Monaco’s smoking regulations, which currently allow cigarette sales to those as young as 16.

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